Daniel whose name means “God is my Judge” was a Jewish captive in Babylon.
He belonged to a family of high rank. Taken captive at 16 years.
He was taken captive by Nebuchadnezzar in the first invasion. There were three.
Daniel spent his whole life in Babylon. (69 years).
Although he lived in a sordid and sinful court he lived a saintly life, so much so that Ezekiel referred to him as a model of righteousness in 16:20, 28, 23.
In addition to Ezekiel, Daniel’s contemporaries during the times of captivity were Jeremiah, Habakkuk, and Obadiah.
Daniel was one of the most outstanding statesman in Babylon and probably of all time.
He served with distinction under four kings. Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar, Darius, Cyrus.
The events cover a period of 72 years.
Daniel died at the age of a round 90 years.
I will refrain from a comprehensive analysis of the book at this time preferring to each section s we come to it.
All written in times of stress: Daniel the Prophet – man of God. Ezekiel – Zechariah – Revelation – Daniel
There are three main sections of the book. Ch1 is the first of these.
Chapter 1 is the introduction.
This introductory chapter explains how Daniel was called – prepared – matured – and blessed of God.
Apart from Moses and Solomon, Daniel was probably the most learned man in the Old Testament.
Prior to the destruction of Jerusalem, Israel had forsaken God’s Law. Despite the many warnings by the prophets, they elected to continue their godless and rebellious course.
Isaiah described their condition. Ch. 1:4-6
“The whole head is sick, the whole heart is faint. From the sole of the foot even onto the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds and bruises and putrefying sores.” Churches or individuals should not the warning.
Daniel was chosen to serve the King after a period of training. Shadrach-Meshach and Abednego were chosen, too.
“Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself.”
The food did not meet the requirements of the Mosaic Law. The meat probably was from forbidden or unclean animals.
The wine as well as the meat had been offered first to idols.
Daniel resolved even at great peril to abstain.
The other three Hebrew children followed his example.
Describe Daniels request for a ten day test. V. 11-16.
God’s blessing on Daniel and his companions.
God gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom. v. 17.
The king found them ten times wiser than all his own magicians and astrologies. v. 80.
The narrative stands as an eloquent testimony to the power and grace of God.
In every age God is looking for those whom He can use.
Daniel was a man of prayer and of uncompromising moral character.
God honored him and will honor all who are like minded.
God’s Plan for the Ages
2 Tim 2:11-16
A study of this plan will necessitate not only a look at the past, but also a look at the future.
From the beginning of time people have tried to uncover tomorrow, before they have lived today.
By the help of prophets, seers, magicians, astrologers, witches, warlocks, occultism and also by the newest member of this debased family, drugs, people seek to tear away the veil that conceals the future.
Housewives and hippies alike are looking for horoscopes for “spiritual” guidance.
1220 of the 1750 daily newspapers carry columns on astrology. They are read by millions.
What of these so called prophets?
There are many frauds among these mediums, but do not be deceived, some do make contact with spirits.
What does the Bible say about all this spiritism?
1. Lev 19:31 – “Regard not them who have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards to be defiled by them.”
2. 1 Chron 10:13, 14 – Saul died for asking counsel of a medium. Heads of State have asked for counsel.
Is there any way of accurately foretelling the future?
1 Peter 1:9 “We have an absolute (more sure) word of prophecy.”
Many of the predictions made by the so-called prophets have been wrong.
But not one prophecy in the Bible has failed.
In the next few Sundays we are going to take some of these prophecies and show you the absolute accuracy of the prophetic word.
For this introductory talk let us take the prophecy of the birth of Jesus. There are over 300 prophecies concerning this in the Old Testament.
The predictions were not made by one person, but by many, over a period of 1500 years.
Were they correct? Absolutely.
Note the difference in methods.
1. Human prophets prophesy on the principle of supposition.
2. Bible prophets prophesied on the Divine Principle of Foreknowledge.
Before we can study prophecy we must have a proper understanding of dispensational truth. Dividing the Scriptures this way helps us to see God’s dealings in the past and in the present. They also reveal His plans for the future.
What is meant by a dispensation?
“A dispensation is a period of time marked out by some special dealing of God with men, imposing upon him responsibility, and always ending in failure.
There are seven of these dispensations clearly revealed in the Scriptures.
1. The dispensation of Innocence. Gen 2:7 to 3:24
Adam created innocent – head over creation – given Eve as his wife – tested – in an attempt to rise and become as gods, they fell.
The dispensation ended in failure.
a. The introduction of sin
b. The fall of the human race.
2. Unrestrained will or conscience. Gen 4:1 to 7:6
Man as made a free agent -- no restraint.
The result. He corrupted and defiled himself so much that God in mercy and judgment ended this period with a flood. Only 8 were saved. “As it was so shall it be.” 2 Peter 10:12. By fire.
3. Human Government. Gen 8:15 to 11:9
Man was put in control of the purged earth. Noah ruled … but could not rule himself – he was found drunk. As the population increased the tragedy of the flood was forgotten. They became godless – they built a tower (Babel) – God intervened, destroyed to the tower – confounded the language – scattered the people.
Human government had miserably failed.
4. Promise. Gen 12:1 to Ex 18.
Began with the call of Abraham and continued to the Exodus.
Some of the promises were unconditional and have been fulfilled others are yet future.
5. The Law. Ex 19:2 to 2 Kings 25.
This period extended from the giving of the law at Mt. Sinai to the captivity. To the Cross
The ten tribes – Northern kingdom were taken into captivity by the King of Assyria in 740 B.C.
Judah – Benjamin – Levites by the King at Babylon in 599 B.C.
6. The times of the Gentiles. Luke 21:24
Grace from the Cross (Pentecost) to Second Coming to earth.
The record of this period is covered by the dream of Nebuchadnezzar. The great image in Dan 2 – Vision of Daniel. It began with Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, and will end when Christ returns to earth and puts all enemies under his feet.
This would be the fulfilling at the prophecy of “The Stone cut without hands.” Falling upon the feet of the image. (see v. 35). This great event will end this dispensation, also the times of the Gentiles.
Meanwhile Israel has been set aside temporarily. Government and authority have been given to the Gentiles. “The times of the Gentiles.” The period covered by Daniel’s prophecy. The Dispensation of Grace arises within this period. That is to say that God is dealing with mankind on the pure principle of grace. This dispensation will end when the Lord comes to the earth.
7. The Millennium. Rev 20:4-6 and many O.T. Scriptures.
This period covers the personal reign of the Lord Jesus over the earth. 1000 years.
From this survey we see that the age in which we live is “The Times of the Gentiles”. Toward the end.
For over 7,000 years God’s program has progressed according to plan. Not one promise has failed. Peter did say. “We have an absolute Word of Prophecy.” Surely the God who has brought to pass His predictions will bring to pass future prophecies. This being so, consider what He has said. “Behold I come quickly.” Rev 22.
Explain Mark 13:33-37
The story of a man who went off on a long journey and gave his servants charge over his household. The door keeper was commanded to keep a careful watch for the return of the master.
Only the master knew the time of return. So all must be ready for his return at any given time. Mark uses this illustration to urge us to “Watchfulness, to readiness, for the return of the Lord.”
At even 6-9 p.m. At midnight 9-12 a.m. At cockcrowing – 12-3 a.m. At morning 3-6 a.m. Four times “watch” is mentioned. He is coming again. His prophecies cannot fail.